Baseball, the national sport of the US, is played with zeal and followed with an interest which borders on deification. Young and the old alike are passionate in their following and worship of their individual heroes. The popularity of the sport can be gauged from the fact that Baseball is played by both men and women at the professional, amateur and youth levels and most schools and colleges have a varsity baseball team as an essential part of the Physical Education Department.
Of the most recognized players with an enviable fan following is Randy Johnson, the celebrated American Major League baseball pitcher.
The 6 ft 10 Randy possesses a dominant fastball in the game, pitching at a speed of 100 miles per hour and at times even exceeding this limit. ‘Mr. Snappy’ as Randy christened his trademark slider, is a hard biting slider that breaks down and off from left handed hitters and down and inside to right handed hitters. He also pitches a fastball with split finger that behaves like a change-up .As well as a sinker which leads to ground ball outs.
Nicknamed the ‘Big Unit’, Randy Johnson is one of the tallest players in Major League baseball, and with his towering personality, wild hairstyle and fierce mustache Randy Johnson is one of the most feared pitchers in baseball.
Randall David Johnson was born on the 10th of September, 1963 in Walnut Creek, California. Randy Johnson distinguished himself as a star baseball and basketball player in High School and as a senior Randy Johnson fanned 121 batters in 66 innings and threw a perfect game. Randy Johnson continued to play baseball when studying at the University of Southern California.
Randy Johnson began his professional career with Montréal Expos (1988-1989) a Major League baseball Team, after two years Randy Johnson was traded to the Seattle Mariners (1990-1998), Randy Johnson led the American League in walk for three consecutive seasons (1990-92) and as a hit batsman in 1992 and 93. The 90’s also bought Randy Johnson in contact with Nolan Ryan who tempered his volcanic talent and lent a steadying influence on Randy, his pitching improved and soon Randy Johnson found his form and the strike zone. In 1993 Randy Johnson put in 19-8 record, 324 ERA and his first 300 plus strikeout season. Then followed a season of pitching well in 1994 which got Randy the American League Cy Young Award with an 18-2 record, 2.48 ERA and 294 strikeouts. Randy Johnson also scored the highest winning percentage of 900 second only to Johnny Allen. The Mariner’s started their late season with Randy pitching a 3-hitter in the American League West’s one game play-off drubbing California’s Angels with 12 strikeouts. Randy Johnson also defeated the Yankees in game 3 with 10 strikeouts in 7 innings. In 1996 Randy was laid off due to a back injury. Randy Johnson scripted a dramatic comeback in 1997 with a 20-4 record, 291 strikeouts and 2.28 ERA.
In the year 1998 Randy Johnson was traded to the Houston Astros. In 11 starts Randy Johnson went 10-1 with a 1.28 ERA leading the Astros to playoffs. The post season 1998 was not very good even though Randy Johnson striked out 17 San Diego padres and walking 2 in 14 innings, the Astros scored just one run. Randy Johnson finished the season with a 1.93 ERA but finished 0-2 due to less runs.
In 1999 Randy Johnson signed a four season contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson led the team to playoffs on the back of a 17-9 record and 2.48 ERA and earned his second Cy Young Award. Randy dazzled in 2001 with 19 wins, 347 strikeouts and 2.64 ERA and yet another Cy Young Award. Randy Johnson and Curt Schillings led the Arizona diamondbacks to their first World Series and thence to victory in 2001 against the dreaded New York Yankees. The Randy Johnson and Curt Schillings shared the World Series MVP award and were named the Sportsmen of the Year by Sport Illustrated magazine. Of the total 11 post season wins by Arizona, Randy Johnson totaled 5. In 2002 Randy Johnson won the pitching Triple Crown leading the National League in wins, ERA and strikeouts and won yet another Cy young Award. Another achievement was his fifth consecutive 300 strikeout season and Randy Johnson became the only pitcher to attain a 24-5 record. In the year 2002 Randy Johnson became one of the few pitchers to attain a nine pitch/three strikeout half innings, when Randy Johnson dismissed 3 batters on 9 pitches in the 6th innings of an 8-2 win over Chicago Cubs. 2003 was an injury prone year for Randy Johnson and all Randy Johnson could accomplish was a career first home run in a game against Milwaukee Brewers. In 2004 Randy Johnson became the 17th pitcher to throw a perfect game and reached a 4000 strikeout mark in his career. Randy Johnson finished the season with a 16-14 record.
The dawn of a new year 2005, saw Randy Johnson traded to the New York Yankees. Randy Johnson won 5-0 against the Red Sox and completed the season 17-8, with a 3.79 ERA and 211 strikeouts. A nagging injury, which was diagnosed as a herniated disc severely, strained his performance throughout 2006.
In January 2007, Randy Johnson was once again traded back to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Randy Johnson soon regained his form to become National League’s top ten strikeout pitchers. A relapse of his old injury laid off Randy for the rest of the year. Randy Johnson made a comeback in April 2008 pitching against San Francisco Giants. In May 2008 Randy realized his 288th career victory strikeout against Detroit Tigers. In June 2008, Randy Johnson struck out Mike Cameron of Milwaukee Brewers to become number two on the strikeout leaders list. By July 2008, Randy Johnson attained his 4700 career strikeout and wrapped up the season 11-10, 3.91 ERA and a 100 career complete game in a 2-1 win against Colorado Rockies.
Randy Johnson signed a one year contract with the San Francisco Giants and hopefully will get his 300th win pitching for the Giants.
Inspite of now being on the wrong side of forty, Randy Johnson is still game for a few records, Randy Johnson pitched a perfect game against the Atlanta Braves, in the process becoming the oldest player in MLB history to do so.
His previous career achievements are many, to name a few, Randy Johnson pitched a no hitter for Seattle in 1990. Randy Johnson also is a 10 times All Star for the year 1990, 93, 94, 95, 97, 99, 2000, 01, 02, 04. League leader in ERA in 1995, 99, 2001, 02. League leader in strikeouts nine times for the year 1992, 95, 99, 2000, 02, 04. Randy Johnson was awarded the World Series MVP award along with Curt Schillings and Randy Johnson also is a five times Cy Young Awarde.